SATURDAY, July 11 was really great. It was the village fair. I saw friends, had a picnic and caught up with my neighbours. On such a beautiful day what could be better than to watch the sunset, beer or Pimms in hand, listening to a free concert on the village common.
When it came to the end, and people began to wander off, I shook my picnic rug to clean off the bottle tops and leftover sandwiches.
Someone else kicked the empty bottles and cans into a heap. One bottle broke, so we all helped stamp on the bits and grind them into the grass so nobody would tread on a sharp bit.
Then we picked up our plastic bags of rubbish, couldn’t really be bothered with schlepping them home, so carried them over to where everyone was leaving their bags in a big pile. After stubbing out a last fag in the dying light, we headed off.
A brilliant night. Bit spoilt by some guys having a kick about with the rubbish bags, but all in all, a pretty civilised way to spend Saturday afternoon.
Well, actually, this wasn’t me. But it is what happened on the evening of Saturday, July 11 in Chalfont St Peter.
For the last four years, Change 4 Chalfont, a local transition group which campaigns on environmental issues, has helped with recycling at our annual Feast Day.
Recycling keeps waste out of landfill, where it would produce methane, a very damaging greenhouse gas.
So this is our motivation for bin diving, sorting through yesterday’s takeaways, dirty nappies, and generally engaging with the underbelly of our disposable society’s excesses.
Each year, we litter pick all day. It’s impossible to clear up after dark during the evening concert, so volunteers from across the village turn up on Sunday morning to deal with the mountains of rubbish dumped the night before, not to mention the tens of thousands of scattered cigarette butts and bottle tops.
This article is a rant about responsibility. When someone puts the remains of their dinner, their disposable cutlery and any empties into a plastic bag, ties a knot in the top and dumps it in a public place, they have abrogated responsibility for their mess.
The mere fact of being at a public event does not justify this. After such a fantastic day celebrating our community, take your rubbish home to recycle, everyone! It is your stuff.
Deal with it.
Take your rubbish home with you